No one denies we need to curb violence involving misused guns, but I was
still at least partially undecided about some gun-related issues until some
weeks ago, on May 14th. I am writing to you in hopes of sharing my own
experiences with you and your readers. I live in a semi-rural neighborhood,
where police OPENLY admit to a 15 minute (or longer) response time to 911 calls.
In fact, one unexpectedly forthright DC officer I spoke with said that 45
minutes is not at all uncommon in his precinct, and "We [officers]
frequently [first respond and] take the first report the day after the crime if
the call comes in at night [when there are apparently fewer officers on
duty]." When I asked when most emergency calls actually come in, he
half-smiled/half-grimaced for a moment and simply said "At night."
Fearing reprimand, he asked I not give his name in any of my writings.
Knowing that both MMM and Second Amendment Sisters would be present on the
Mall in DC, I spoke with a few participants of both of their rallies, with the
intent to educate myself before wholly passing judgment for either group. I
asked both groups the same, somewhat open question : "Why are you,
personally, here today?"
When I spoke to one member of the Million Moms, I was told "Because I
have a great Mom, and it's Mother's Day!" When more specifically asked
about guns, this person said they support fewer gun laws, and own several guns
-- they had no idea what Million Moms was asking for, and claimed they would be
joining the SAS march after I spoke to them.
One younger gentleman very tellingly simply said "I get school credit
for being here today. I don't think I do if I support the SAS march."
One family said they attended MMM because "The City of Richmond paid to
bus my family up, and it's a nice day for a picnic."
One mother was wearing a stack of photos of her children around her neck --
when I questioned her, she said three of her children were gang members, and had
sadly been shot to death by Police. She said she "was [there] to ban guns
because [she doesn't] know what else to do." While my heart very sincerely
goes out to her for her loss of her children, I couldn't make a connection
between banning civilian (non-Police) guns and the Police being forced to shoot
gang members. There are just too many things wrong with that logic.
Another Mom said "I don't want to own a gun because I am sometimes
suicidal, and I tend to lose my temper frequently; I am afraid I might shoot my
own children." I must sincerely applaud her choice for not owning a gun,
and her self awareness! When questioned "Do you think all mothers have the
potential to kill their children?" she greatly surprised me by saying
"Of course! Don't you ever lose your temper?" I had to respectfully
confess that while I HAVE been forced to defend my life several times, I have
never ONCE lost my tempter enough to raise a fist, much less a gun. And to
utterly lose control enough to raise a gun to an innocent child!?!? Quite
honestly, anyone that would even distantly consider such a thing truly sickens
Ultimately, the emotion I got more than anything from the MMM group was
simply an unfocused fear of their fellow armed citizens, ignorance of
gun-related facts, and complete confusion as to what to do about violence in
general. The one mother above said it best : "I just don't know what else
to do... so I'm here."
When I spoke to people at the Second Amendment Sister's gathering, I heard
heartbreaking stories of being raped, family members being murdered in their own
houses and in restaurants, churches and schools (where current laws forbid
concealed carry), and over and over the same gist was independently restated :
"If I had the gun I now carry, it would have been an easy shot to stop
[that crime]." Even if I didn't already generally agree with guns, I have
to admit that this smaller group, to a one, had rational and strongly moving
reasons for what they supported. Not one person I spoke with in the SAS group
had any confusion over what they were there for.
Since I visited the SAS group second, they began their march while I was
still talking to one indulgent young man. What happened next clinched my
admittedly rapidly firming views : while I continued to talk to this gentleman,
the opposing crowd we walked by began to throw things. At more than one
intersection, we were actually spit on by the Million Mom supporters, many of
whom were small children, apparently already being taught intolerance and
disrespect of others. Several times, young shirtless men with red paint 'bullet
wounds' shouted at us language I haven't heard from seasoned sailors. When one
of these boys yelled "I don't trust you with a gun!" I have to admit
agreeing with a woman next to me who answered "How can I trust YOU without
At the end of the SAS march, the participants chanted "Thank You,
Police" to our escorts, who unquestionably stopped several of the more
violent attacks from the Million Moms.
As a result of the above fact finding and demonstrations, I personally
believe in the right of responsible people to carry completely unrestricted; to
choose how to secure their "life preservers" if they have children in
their homes. I also support holding parents absolutely responsible for the
actions of their children, whether those children abuse an otherwise legal
firearm or abuse those who choose to legally own one.
Wolf N. Rose